Partner Marketing


When brands partner with non-competitor brands to reach the same target market, they are engaging in a strategy known as partner marketing or co-marketing. Unlike cause marketing, in which a for-profit business partners with a nonprofit to raise awareness, partner marketing refers to an arrangement between two for-profit businesses.

Brands can set up partner marketing campaigns in different ways:

  • Partner marketed events. Collectively, two or more companies or thought leaders add more value to the marketing event than an individual company or presenter.
  • Partner product and service promotions. Doritos and Taco Bell joined forces to deliver a line of cheese-encrusted products. Each brand benefits from the sale of the unique product offering. B2B companies often provide market development funds to their resellers benefiting both parties.
  • Cross-selling. Something as simple as agreeing to let your clients know about your friend’s business and vice versa is a form of partner marketing.
  • Partner content marketing. Many businesses offer complimentary Partner marketing may include joint publications describing a customer problem, a solution, or industry insights.
  • Social media partner marketing. Brands can create conversations via social media to encourage reader engagement or promote partner-branded content and encourage interaction.

To measure the success of partner marketing, businesses may want to measure specific and combined performance indicators. Measurement enables each partner to gauge the success of the campaign and the partnership. After a campaign, partners may continue to support one another or move in separate directions. Measurement, communication, and follow-through play key roles in this form of marketing.

Every time a brand engages in a partner marketing activity, it gains an opportunity to expand its reach and create value for consumers. If both companies receive some form of benefit and both agree to the boundaries of the professional relationship, partner marketing serves as a cost-effective strategy.

Partner marketing enables businesses to explore new markets and optimize the customer experience. For B2C and B2B businesses, coordinated marketing efforts between strategic brands serve as a highly efficient form of marketing.

Partner relationship management platforms provide companies with a comprehensive cloud-based platform for partners, resellers, distributors, VARs, agents, dealers, franchisees, brokers, reps and other retailers access to marketing materials critical for the success of these programs. These cloud-based mobile-friendly environments give your partners real-time access to marketing assets the partnership needs to close more deals faster.


IMA has a list of these partner marketing tools and technologies on Martec Showcase.

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